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Today in Crypto: ‘Fundamental Clash Between Regulations and Crypto’, Ethereum Devs Patch Testnet Bug, Bank of Japan Set to Launch CBDC Pilot in April
Get your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptoasset and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.
- There is “a fundamental clash between traditional banking regulatory approaches and the crypto world,” argued Tobias Adrian, the Financial Counsellor and Director of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He explained that, while institutions must be able to ensure that what is happening is legal, that is “very difficult to do in a world where transactions are fundamentally anonymous.” What regulators want and need to do, he opined, is fundamentally at odds with the design of crypto.
- Marius VanDerWijden, a core developer on Ethereum (ETH)’s upcoming Shanghai-Capella upgrade, reported on Thursday a bug on the Zhejiang testnet, saying that it was fixed. He wrote: “The last 4 and a half stressful hours of debugging culminated in this amazing bug fix. We got reports that geth nodes wouldn't sync the Zhejiang devnet correctly. The issue was that if a block body was empty (no tx, no withdrawals) we wouldn't initialize it correctly.” Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko added that “everyone felt confident they could patch it quickly.”
- The Bank of Japan announced plans to roll out a new pilot for its central bank digital currency (CBDC) program in April. There will not be real transactions taking place among participating users, only “simulated transactions,” Japan's central bank explained. “The aim of the pilot program is twofold: first, to test the technical feasibility not fully covered by the PoCs [Proof of Concept], and second, to utilize the skills and insights of private businesses in terms of technology and operation for designing a CBDC ecosystem in the possible event of social implementation,” it said.
- USDT issuer Tether said that “in light of recent regulatory headwinds which have caused issues for BUSD and to a lesser degree USDC, USDT currently represents roughly half of the overall stablecoin market.” The announcement added that Tether settled more value in 2022 than ever before and that total settlement for Tether crossed $18.2 trillion “which was more than either Mastercard or Visa,“ it claimed. USDT is now backed in excess of 81% by cash and cash equivalents without any exposure to commercial paper, which includes over $39 billion in direct exposure to US Treasuries, with the remainder constituted by money market funds, reverse repo agreements, and cash and bank deposits, it said.
- Ethereum scaling solution zkSync Era announced its Fair Onboarding Alpha, saying that “the first zkEVM on Ethereum is finally lifting the gates to let registered projects deploy on mainnet.” The team also announced that zkSync Era is now full open source with the freedom to view, modify and fork the code, as well as that zkSync 2.0 has been renamed to zkSync Era, and zkSync 1.0 is now zkSync Lite. The team will be updating the protocol roadmap and publishing an overview of the next milestones soon.
- The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business announced the US-based startup Ripple as the newest sponsor of the Fintech at Cornell initiative. Per the press release, Fintech at Cornell prepares students for the digital age by engaging them with faculty members, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and policymakers in discussion and debate on the socioeconomic implications and applications of AI, big data, blockchain, digital assets, digitization, and more.
- Web3 security company Stelo announced a $6 million seed round of funding led by a16z crypto with participation by First Round Capital, Opensea Ventures, Chainforest, BoxGroup, Pear, Homebrew, Louis Beryl, Sabrina Hahn, Dylan Field, Dan Romero, Gokul Rajaram, Lenny Rachitsky, and others. Stelo aims to expand the reach of its tools to make transacting on the blockchain simple and safe, it said. Stelo also announced the Stelo v2 extension, the developer API to empower dapps and wallets to use the Stelo Transaction Engine, and approvals.xyz, an approval experience for users to understand their wallet health and keep it safe, it added.
- Bitcoin miner CleanSpark announced a purchase of 20,000 brand-new Antminer S19j Pro+ units for $43.6 million. After coupons, the company expects to pay $32.3 million, for a discount of 25% or a total price per terrahash of approximately $13.25. The Pro+ is more power-efficient and 22% more productive than the Antminer S19j Pro model and will be shipped in batches, with deliveries starting as early as next month, lasting until the end of May, the company said. CleanSpark plans to deploy the fleet of new machines at its wholly-owned bitcoin mining locations in the USA.
- While 2022 saw crypto market giants announcing mass layoffs, the crypto payment ecosystem CoinsPaid announced plans to hire new talents and reach over 300 team members in 2023, said a press release. “In 2022, amidst market turbulence, we increased our team up to 65%, reaching 200+ employees. And we are now ready to expand our team of experts to polish in-house systems, enhance the company’s growth while in the steady market, and further achieve greater results,” it said.